Easy explanation for all of this, and one I've held ever since seeing him in the minors:
Eddie is more or less a guess swinger combined with superb bat control.
Yes, it would be great if he could lay off some pitches and draw more walks, but he's deciding he's swinging before a pitch is even thrown most of the time. He admitted as much after his home run from his first MLB at bat that you cite. He was swinging no matter what.
That's why you see him swing at pitches he has no business swinging at and looking silly for doing so, and missing a lot of other pitches because he's guessed wrong.
But, he's also very good at putting the bat on the ball on pitches he is able to touch when he's right, e.g.: the superb bat control.
He's gonna put a lot of pitches in play that he shouldn't because of that, and is what holds him back from putting up the batting lines you're hoping he will.
Every once in a while he's going to catch one like that pitch from Tomlin, but he's always going to be streaky depending on how he's doing on his guesses, and I don't find it quite likely that it's ever going to sway the way of benefiting him more than it hurts.
The Kirby Puckett reference is a little misleading to me as well because I have to ask the question: Do I expect Eddie to suddenly turn into .318 career hitter like Puckett, where he's so good at hitting the OBP becomes a moot point? No, I don't for the reasons mentioned above.
All that said, he's plenty capable of putting up enough numbers with his approach to be a fine player, he has already demonstrated that. But I do also think we've already seen pretty close to the best that he is capable of unless he does become more selective somehow. If I had to predict his career, .275/.310/.450 is about where I'd put him.
Edited by Steve Lein, 16 March 2017 - 03:57 PM.
Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)